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Monday, March 18, 2019 - 12:15pm
Dobbs Ferry Campus
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There is no doubt that Mercy College students are hungry for success. Unfortunately, many of them are also just hungry in general.

 

To assist students, faculty and staff in need of food or personal care items for themselves and their families, a Mav Market location on the Dobbs Ferry Campus was opened this past October. Mercy College will host a grand opening at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. The ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place in the Lecture Hall in Main Hall.

 

The Dobbs Ferry Campus location is just several months’ old, while the Mav Market at the Bronx Campus has been open since October 2017. A Manhattan Campus location is planned for 2020.

 

“The reason that we have a food pantry on a college campus is because we know that college students experience food insecurity almost double to triple the national level of food insecurity rates,” said Mary Sherman, an AmeriCorps VISTA who serves as the Program Coordinator of the Maverick Friendly Market. “We found that our rates of food insecurity were actually higher than the national average” of 36 percent, making it a significant issue throughout the Mercy community.

 

“We know that it’s something that students are experiencing amongst all the campuses. It was important to bring it to Dobbs Ferry to make sure all of the students know that they have a resource available to them and Mercy is truly looking out for their well-being,” she continued.

 

Sherman explained that everyone in the Mercy family is welcome to visit the Mav Markets. They use a point system, so consumers receive more points if they are picking up items for themselves and their children, for example. Each item in the market carries a point value and individuals can redeem their points as they see fit.

 

The need for the Mav Market continues to increase, Sherman and her staff have found. In the first eight months of the Bronx Campus market’s operation, they distributed about 700 pounds of food, enough for about 600 meals. In the Fall 2018 semester, the Bronx totals jumped to 1,200 pounds of food or about 1,000 meals’ worth. The Mav Market serves over 400 individuals and their families between the Bronx and Dobbs Ferry locations.

 

“No one is able to determine how hungry a person can be or how food insecure a person can be,” Sherman mentioned. “A college student experiences hunger and food insecurity a little bit different than the rest of the general population. Even if they do have enough food at home, maybe they don’t have a snack, or they can’t afford something that is at the lunch counter. So why should they be barred from being able to eat?”

 

The Mav Market does not stop with food and drink, however. Clothing, baby food, diapers and personal care items are also available to those who need them. Perhaps not surprisingly, they are also some of the most popular items.

 

Food pantries on college campuses are a growing trend. Many schools near Mercy are opening their own, and Sherman said that all State University of New York (SUNY) and City University of New York (CUNY) schools are mandated to have some type of resource pantry available for their students.

 

Je’Laya Johnson, a student volunteer at the Dobbs Ferry Campus market since Fall 2018, said that working at the Mav Market “brings me so much happiness. The Mav Market does so much for me and the Mercy community, and I just feel like I’m giving back. It’s a great learning experience.

 

“People are afraid to say, ‘I need help,’ and I see so many people come into Mav Market confidently and say, ‘Listen, I need help. Thank you for helping me.’”

 

If you would like to help the Mav Market assist others, individuals attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony are asked to bring a non-perishable item. There are also options for those who wish to donate to the Mav Market, and those can be found in the F.A.Q. section of the Mav Market website.